Skip to main content

Full text of "My country and my people"

See other formats

WOMAN'S  LIFE                     137
to excuse in her such professional ethics, whether with conę cubines or not. Our scholar, Ytl Ghenghsieh, discovered as early as 1833 that "jealousy is no vice in women/* Women who lose their husbands5 favour have about the same feeling as a professional clerk who loses the good favour of his employer, and unmarried girls have about the same feeling as a man out of employment. Man's professional jealousy in commercial competition is just as merciless as woman's in the field of love, and a small trader has just as much liking for being put out of business as a shopkeeper's wife has in seeing her husband take to another woman. Such is the logic of the economic dependence of women. The failure to see this is responsible for the jokes about gold-diggers, for gold-diggers are merely the female counterpart of successful business men: they are more clear-minded than their sisters, sell their goods to the highest bidders in a professional spirit, and get what they want. Successful business men and gold-diggers want the same thing, money, and they ought to respect each other for his or her clear-mindedness.
Anything is possible in China, however. I have been carried in a sedan chair by women up the mountains in the outskirts of Soochow. The women sedan-bearers insisted on carrying me, a man, up those hills. Somewhat shamefacedly, I let them, for, I thought, these are the descendants of the ancient Chinese matriarcihs, and sisters of the women in southern Fukien, with glorious breasts and an erect bearing, who carry coal and till the field, who rise early in the morning, dress and wash and do their hair neatly and go to work and come back to nurse their children with their own milk. They are the sisters, too, of those women in rich families who rule the household and their husbands as well.
Have women really been suppressed in China, I often wonder? The powerful figure of the Empress Dowager immediately comes to my mind. Chinese women are not the type to be easily suppressed. Women have suffered many